Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Common Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) - HBW 12, p. 747

French: Mésange bleue German: Blaumeise Spanish: Herrerillo Común
Other common names: Blue Tit; African Blue Tit (ultramarinus and cyrenaicae, often with C. teneriffae); Pleske’s Tit (hybrid form “pleskii”)

Taxonomy: Parus caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Until recently present genus normally subsumed into a broad Parus, and many authors still prefer that treatment. Forms a superspecies with C. teneriffae and C. cyanus. Previously considered conspecific with former, but differs in mitochondrial DNA; alternatively, races ultramarinus and cyrenaicae alone frequently treated within C. teneriffae; further study required. Hybridizes with C. cyanus, especially following years when latter expands W in irruptive manner (hybrids described as a separate taxon, “pleskii”); hybridizes rare.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Parus caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Until recently present genus normally subsumed into a broad Parus, and many authors still prefer that treatment. Forms a superspecies with C. teneriffae and C. cyanus. Previously considered conspecific with former, but differs in mitochondrial DNA; alternatively, races ultramarinus and cyrenaicae alone frequently treated within C. teneriffae; further study required. Hybridizes with C. cyanus, especially following years when latter expands W in irruptive manner (hybrids described as a separate taxon, “pleskii”); hybridizes rarely also with Parus major. Nominate race intergrades with obscurus, ogliastrae and satunini; also, satunini intergrades with persicus, and it is uncertain which of these races breeds in NW Syria. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • obscurus (Prazák, 1894) - British Is.
  • caeruleus (Linnaeus, 1758) - N, C & E Europe (S to N Spain, Italy, N & C Greece), W & N Asia Minor.
  • ogliastrae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1905) - S Iberia, Corsica and Sardinia.

     See all 11 subspecies
  • obscurus (Prazák, 1894) - British Is.
  • caeruleus (Linnaeus, 1758) - N, C & E Europe (S to N Spain, Italy, N & C Greece), W & N Asia Minor.
  • ogliastrae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1905) - S Iberia, Corsica and Sardinia.
  • balearicus (Jordans, 1913) - Mallorca.
  • calamensis (Parrot, 1908) - S Greece, Cyclades, Crete and Rhodes.
  • orientalis Zarudny & Loudon, 1905 - SE European Russia.
  • satunini Zarudny, 1908 - Crimea, Caucasus, E Turkey, N Jordan, NW Iran, possibly also SE Turkey, NW Syria and N Iraq.
  • raddei (Zarudny, 1908) - N Iran.
  • persicus (Blanford, 1873) - SW Iran.
  • ultramarinus (Bonaparte, 1841) - NW Africa from Morocco E to N Tunisia.
  • cyrenaicae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1922) - NE Libya.